Last day in Poland

And this is the end of my wonderful journey to Poland and to Israel in 2014. I want to say thank you to all my faithful readers. Thank you for your comments, they motivated me to continue posting pictures and information. I should also say thank you to my good friend GOOGLE for providing me with lots of  information that made my comments more interesting. A big thank you to Paul from St. Patrick’s church in Markham who inspired me with the idea of creating a blog. This is the best and the most fascinating way to travel.

As I am saying good bye to my friends and family, here they are on pictures…

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smiling

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cooking

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serving

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announcing their engagement

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celebrating their wedding anniversary

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getting together on Mondays in Miedzylesie

Good-bye to my beautiful Warszawa:

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and good-bye to my amazing Lodz:

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Lodz is a city of National Film School and of Polish film industry.

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                                                                                                                            THE END

 

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Pearls of European Art Nouveau in Łódź

Łódź is a cultural phenomenon and a fascinating place inhabited by distinguished artists, scientists and industrialists. It is a modern city deeply rooted in tradition. A city of the multicultural heritage of Poles, Germans, Jews and Russians. A city of the industrial revolution (often called Polish Manchester), of the steam engine and the electrical era. It is the city housing the world-famous Modern Art Museum (Muzeum Sztuki Współczesnej) and the Lodz Film School (Łódzka Szkoła Filmowa). Łódź – a city of creative energy, vibrating with the pulse of our modern era.

This description comes from a brochure about Lodz. Lodz is also famous for its art nouveau style.

Pearls of European Art Nouveau
Leopold Kindermann’s villa built in the Art Nouveau style (Wólczańska Street) is the most beautiful example of this style in Poland. The picturesque, asymmetric block of the building topped by a high roof is finely encrusted with floral and figural motifs and stained-glass windows.


Equally intriguing, surprising by the lightness of its form and stylistic elegance, is the Art Nouveau house (built in 1909) at no. 100 Piotrkowska Street (the famous Esplanada restaurant) distinguishing itself with its fine ornamentation and artistic, hand-wrought balustrades.

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Art nouveau is a style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that was most popular during 1890–1910.

A reaction to academic art of the 19th century, it was inspired by natural forms and structures, not only in flowers and plants, but also in curved lines. Architects tried to harmonize with the natural environment.

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The Art Nouveau style can be found in Łódź in its different functional variants: villas, appartment buildings, governmental buildings and factories.

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Here I am with another famour writer, this time Julian Tuwim, Polish poet of Jewish descent, born in Łódź. He was educated in Łódź and in Warsaw where he studied law and philosophy at the Warsaw University. He was a major figure in Polish Literature, admired also for his contribution to children’s literature. All Polish children grow up reading his poems. Very often they can recite them by heart.

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Łódź

Hello again from Poland!

The last few days, I was busy spending time with my friends and family. Yesterday, I had a chance to visit another interesting part of Poland, the third-largest city in Poland, Lodz. It is located in the central part of the country, approximately 135 kilometres south-west of Warszawa. It was a great pleasure for me to travel there with my very good friend Bozena. We had a chance to spend an entire day together and share our common interests in history of Poland.

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The handsome guy beside us is Wladyslaw Raymont, famous Polish novelist and the 1924 laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature. His famous novel Ziemia Obiecana, (The Promised Land) is set in the late 19th century Łódź. Reymont’s novel vividly paints a portrait of the rapid industrialization of Łódź and its cruel effects on workers and mill owners.

In the second half of the 19th century, Lodz became one of the Europe`s biggest and fastest growing textile industry centres. At that time, a new identity of the city – “a promised land” and “a city of many cultures” was created. During this time, Jewish and German factory owners, merchants, bankers, industrialists and blue-collar workers played an important role in developing Lodz’s economy.

Prior to World War II, the Jewish population of Lodz numbered about 233,000, roughly one-third of the city’s population. It was the second largest Jewish community in Europe.

If you would like to learn more about the Jewish community in Lodz go to:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/Lodz.html

Now, I would like to take you for a walk in Lodz. Here is the most beautiful street in this city – ulica Piotrkowska:

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Łódź is generally believed to be the creation of three visionary industrialists, celebrated here in a bronze statue dating from 2002. The three men in question are the Jewish industrialist Israel Poznański (1833-1900), Henryk Grohman (1862-1939), industrialist and patron of the arts and Karol Schreiber, creator of the city’s extraordinary Księży Młyn.

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Izrael Kalmanowicz Poznanski, one of the “kings of cotton” of Łódź in the 19th century.

More pictures from Lodz tomorrow!!! Stay with me!!!

 

A beautiful walk in Warsaw

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Am I still posting pictures from Jerusalem? No, this one is from Warszawa. This is our only palm tree, and of course it is fake.

Today I would like to take you for a walk on two gorgeous streets: Nowy Swiat and Krakowskie Przedmiescie. They will lead
you to the heart of the Old Town. They are both beautiful and very elegant with amazing stores and restaurants. Nowy Swiat starts where this fake palm tree stands. Let’s visit this historic part of Warsaw:

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University of Warsaw, main entrance from Krakowskie Przedmiescie

University of Warsaw, main entrance from Krakowskie Przedmiescie

Presidential Palace

Presidential Palace

Since July 1994, the palace has been the official seat of the President of the Republic of Poland replacing the smaller Belweder palace. Our current President, Bronislaw Komorowski, decided to move his residence back to Belweder. This palace was the residence of Lech Kaczyński, who died in an April 2010 air accident at Smolensk, Russia.

I had to take a picture of this handsome soldier in front of the Presidential Palace. After all I have lots of experience of taking pictures of soldiers from Jerusalem.

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The name of this car is Trabant. Here is a short description of it that I found on the website of TIME under the title:

The 50 Worst Cars of All Time

This is the car that gave Communism a bad name. Powered by a two-stroke pollution generator that maxed out at an ear-splitting 18 hp, the Trabant was a hollow lie of a car constructed of recycled worthlessness (actually, the body was made of a fiberglass-like Duroplast, reinforced with recycled fibers like cotton and wood). A virtual antique when it was designed in the 1950s, the Trabant was East Germany’s answer to the VW Beetle — a “people’s car,” as if the people didn’t have enough to worry about. Trabants smoked like an Iraqi oil fire, when they ran at all, and often lacked even the most basic of amenities, like brake lights or turn signals. But history has been kind to the Trabi. Thousands of East Germans drove their Trabants over the border when the Wall fell, which made it a kind of automotive liberator. Once across the border, the none-too-sentimental Ostdeutschlanders immediately abandoned their cars. Ich bin Junk!

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Here we are again. Now you should be able to recognize the square in front of the Royal Palace in the Old Town.

 

Warszawa today

This is Warsaw in 1945

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And this is the same square today. I took this picture two days ago.

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In September 1980, UNESCO declared the historic centre of Warsaw as World Heritage Site. I went on their official website: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/30 and found this interesting information there:

Statement of Significance

Warsaw was deliberately annihilated in 1944 as a repression of the Polish resistance to the German occupation. The capital city was reduced to ruins with the intention of obliterating the centuries-old tradition of Polish statehood. The rebuilding of the historic city, 85% of which was destroyed, was the result of the determination of the inhabitants and the support of the whole nation. The reconstruction of the Old Town in its historic urban and architectural form was the manifestation of the care and attention taken to assure the survival of one of the most important testimonials of Polish culture. The city – the symbol of elective authority and tolerance, where the first democratic European constitution, the Constitution of 3 May 1791, was adopted – was rebuilt. The reconstruction included the holistic recreation of the urban plan, together with the Old Town Market, the town houses, the circuit of the city walls, as well as the Royal Castle and important religious buildings. The reconstruction of Warsaw’s historical centre was a major contributor to the changes in the doctrines related to urbanisation and conservation of urban development in most of the European countries after the destruction of World War II. Simultaneously, this example illustrates the effectiveness of conservation activities in the second half of the 20th Century, which permitted the integral reconstruction of the complex urban ensemble.

Criterion (ii): The initiation of comprehensive conservation activities on the scale of the entire historic city was a unique European experience and contributed to the verification of conservation doctrines and practices.

Criterion (vi): The historic centre of Warsaw is an exceptional example of the comprehensive reconstruction of a city that had been deliberately and totally destroyed. The foundation of the material reconstruction was the inner strength and determination of the nation, which brought about the reconstruction of the heritage on a unique scale in the history of the world.

Let’s visit the Old Town!

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Please compare this square in front of the Royal Castle now…

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Warsaw Uprising – August 1944

The city of Warsaw, especially its Old Town,  is decorated to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, which pitted Polish citizens and the resistance against the Nazis. The rebellion is deeply embedded in Polish memory.

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Barricades on the streets of Warszawa then...

Barricades on the streets of Warszawa then…

... and now. These commemorative barricades describe the tragic events of August and September 2014

… and now. These commemorative barricades describe the tragic events of August and September 1944

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Here is a short text that my daughter Basia wrote about this event:

70 years ago yesterday (August 1), my parents’ city, Warsaw, began an uprising against Nazi occupation. Regular civilians were so desperate to get out of oppression and to get their country and own government back, they themselves planned an uprising attack in secret, adopted code names, used the underground canals and sewers of Warsaw to move around and decided to launch their attack on August 1st. The uprising lasted 60 days before hundreds of thousands of the uprisers were arrested by Nazis and sent to concentration camps, and Hitler himself ordered the entire city to be destroyed by bombings.

My grandma, who lived 100 km away from Warsaw at the time, remembers seeing a huge fire on the horizon for days. What’s more, her family hid a friend who had been wounded in the uprising and she witnessed as he was caught and her father begged for him not to be executed.

I am sharing this because not only is it an extremely important memory for Polish people, for whom that time in history is still so painful and relevant (I always say it wouldn’t be a Polish gathering if a heated conversation about World War 2 didn’t come up), but also because it shows how natural of a human reaction it is to do anything to fight against oppression. We are seeing it as we speak, daily in the news. People in oppressed regions joining terrorist organizations and vowing to fight until they die because they are desperate. It is in insane to me that only 70 years ago that was Poland and most of Europe, where now it would be unimaginable for countries within the EU to declare brutal war on each other. If remembering history and keeping it alive can even in the slightest help prevent these things from repeating themselves, then it is so worth doing.

This video shows how the city remembers the uprising every year, for one minute, at 5 pm, on the first day of August . So powerful.

The entire population of Warszawa (Warsaw) was involved, including the youngest ones:

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After 63 days of fighting, 200 000 people were killed and the entire city was destroyed:

One more video:

My last pictures from Jerusalem

Sadly, I have to finish my tour of Jerusalem because I am running out of pictures. The best way to do it would be from the roof of the Austrian Hospice, in the Muslim Quarter. From there, this ancient city looks like that:IMG_4640

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Well protected Jewish homes in the Muslim Quarter

Well protected Jewish homes in the Muslim Quarter

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Experience Jerusalem

There are many ways to experience Jerusalem. One way is to acquaint yourself with this wonderful city from the unique vantage point of the Austrian Hospice.

The Austrian Hospice of the Holy Family is located in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem, directly on the Via Dolorosa. From here it is easy to reach the holy sites of the three monotheistic religions, like the Holy Sepulchre Church, the Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall or the Mount of Olives on the other side of the Kidron Valley.

Surrounded by pulsating life on the streets of the Old City, the Austrian Hospice is an oasis of peace and relaxation. Within the Old City Walls you encounter a unique atmosphere: history under the palm trees in the garden of the Hospice.

Built in the style of a palace on Vienna‘s Ringstrasse, the Hospice invites you to linger awhile. You are
invited to enjoy the tranquility of our house chapel, admire the stupendous view from our roof terrace or to relax on the garden terrace of our Viennese café.

 

The Hurva Synagogue

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History of Hurva Synagogue

Construction on the Hurva Synagogue began under Rabbi Judah the Hassid in 1700 but ceased upon his death. The rabbi was a member of one of the first groups of Ashkenazi Jews to immigrate to Jerusalem, a few hundred from Poland.

The failure of the Ashkenazi community to pay the debts incurred by the half-built synagogue led to the riots that resulted in their expulsion from Jerusalem in 1720. The synagogue itself was destroyed in 1721, and the resulting desolate ruins (hurva) gave the synagogue its present name.

The Hurva Synagogue was restarted under Ibrahim Pasha in 1836 and finally completed in 1856. Designed in a grand Neo-Byzantine style, it was one of the largest buildings in the Old City.

However, after less than a century in operation, the synagogue was destroyed by the Jordanian Arab Legion during the war of 1948. Conservation and investigation of the ruins began in 1977.

Since the Israeli recapture of Jerusalem in 1967, many plans have been made for its rebuilding. In 2005, the Israeli government announced a plan to rebuild the synagogue in exactly the same form as before, assigning the project a budget of $6.2 million. According to the Jewish Quarter Development Company, two-thirds of the cost was donated by the Ukrainian Jewish magnates Vadim Rabinovitch and Igor Kolomoisky.

Construction took five years, and the restored Hurva Synagogue was dedicated on March 15, 2010. The event prompted riots from Palestinians, some of whom held that the rededication signalled the Israelis’ intent to destroy Muslim holy places on the Temple Mount and replace them with the Third Temple.

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Since its establishment in 1864, the Hurva Synagogue in the Courtyard of the Ruin of Rabbi Yehuda Hassid”, became the largest, most magnificent and most important synagogue in the entire Land of Israel and the center of life in the Jewish Quarter.

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A very cute song:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mezuzah

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Mezuzah

The Mezuzah is a small case in which a small hand written scroll of parchment (called a klaf) is placed. The scroll contains the words of the “Shema Israel” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) passage, in which God commands Jews to keep His words constantly in thier minds and in their hearts. The scroll also contains another passage (Deuteronomy 11:13). The passages are written in Hebrew, and contain 22 lines of 713 painstakingly written letters.

The meaning of the Hebrew word Mezuzah is simply “a doorpost”. The meaning of the words “Shema Israel” is “Hear Israel”.

On the back of the scroll, a name of God is written. The scroll is then rolled so that the first letter of the Name (the letter Shin) is visible (or, more commonly, the letter Shin is written on the on the upper exterior of the case).

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Every time you pass through a door with a Mezuzah on it, you kiss your fingers and touch them to the Mezuzah, expressing love and respect for God and his commandments.

The Mezuzah is not, as some may think, a good-luck charm, nor does it have any connection with the lamb’s blood placed on the doorposts in Egypt. Rather, it is a constant reminder of God’s presence and God’s commandments.

Where to place Mezuzot

The Mezuzah should be placed on the doorposts of of every Jewish home. Mezuzot should also be placed in every room within the home. A place serving regularly for unclean use, such as a bathroom, is exempt from Mezuzah. The Mezuzah should also be affixed on gates leading to communal places, synagogues, schools, and Jewish ownen business establishments, even on gates of cities, symbolizing the sovereignty of the commandments over the Jewish social and communal life in all its aspects.

The exact placement of a Mezuzah is on the right side of the doorpost (when entering the home or room), on the lower part of the upper third of the doorpost (or around shoulder height for high doorways). The case should be permanently affixed with nails, screws, glue, or strong double-sided tape.

The Mezuzah is affixed at an angle becasue the rabbis could not decide whether it should be placed horizontally or vertically, so they compromised. The top of the Mezuzah should be slanted toward the room the door opens into.

Mezuza ScrollMezuzah Scroll

It is proper to remove a Mezuzah when you move, and in fact, it is usually recommended. If you leave it in place, the subsequent owner may treat it with disrespect.

Beautiful Jewish homes in Jerusalem:

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with mezuzah beside the door

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with a view on the Old City

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not far from the Jaffa Gate:

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TODAY IS ALSO THE NINTH OF AV! – THE DAY OF MOURNING

Tisha B’Av, the Fast of the Ninth of Av, is a day of mourning to commemorate the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, many of which have occurred on the ninth of Av.

Tisha B’Av means “the ninth (day) of Av.” It occurs in July or August.

Tisha B’Av primarily commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples, both of which were destroyed on the ninth of Av (the first by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E.; the second by the Romans in 70 C.E.).

Although this holiday is primarily meant to commemorate the destruction of the Temple, it is appropriate to consider on this day the many other tragedies of the Jewish people, many of which occurred on this day, most notably the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and from England in 1290.1

 

 

The Garden Tomb and l’Ecole Biblique

Welcome to the Garden Tomb

The Garden Tomb is believed by many to be the garden and sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathea, and therefore a possible site of the resurrection of Jesus. The Garden is owned and administered by The Garden Tomb (Jerusalem) Association, a Christian non-denominational charitable trust based in the United Kingdom (UK charity 1144197; UK company 7591911).

The Garden Tomb is an alternative site to the famous Holy Sepulchre for you to consider the Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Garden is a beautiful place in which you will discover several things that were all here on the night Jesus died and which match the accounts in the four Gospels. We never claim to be in the right place as we could never prove that; but where Jesus died is of little importance compared with why. 

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I visited all these places with Miner my sweet friend from the Philippines.

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The entrance to the tomb

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Inside the tomb

Inside the tomb

He is not here - for He is risen

 

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Ecole Biblique is located few blocks from The  Garden Tomb on the same street.

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The École Biblique, strictly the École biblique et archéologique française de Jérusalem, is a French academic establishment in Jerusalem, founded by Dominicans, and specialising in archaeology and Biblical exegesis.

Following the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the scholars at the school have been heavily involved in the translation and interpretation of the texts.

Stephen was the Greek Christian commissioned by the leaders of the Jerusalem church to look after the Greek-speaking poor of the city as part of the church’s mission.

The original church was built by the Empress Eudocia at the end of the fifth century to house the Relics of St. Stephen, the first Christian Martyr, and the adjoining Monastery complex was very large, by the beginning of the sixth century it housed close to 10,000 monks. Having been destroyed in the 12th century by crusaders not wanting to give Salah id-Din a base outside the walls, the new church was re-dedicated in 1900, based considerably upon the remains of the old. The world famous Ecole Biblique (Bible School) was founded in 1890.

Tradition holds that Eudocia, her granddaughter, and the first Christian martyr Stephen are buried under the main entrance to this basilica.

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The garden

Across the street from l’Ecole Biblique:

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